Mayor's Energetic Times in 'Cool City' Sakai

21 July 2011

Stronger business ties, a sharper focus on solar energy and a 2012 Japan Festival in Wellington are on the horizon, reports Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown from the Japanese city of Sakai.

She said the first stop on the Wellington Mayoral Delegation to Japan and China had been a resounding success and helped strengthen the path for a prosperous partnership.

Ms Wade-Brown is leading a 26 business-strong delegation to Japan and China with councillor Jo Coughlan, taking in the cities of Sakai, Beijing, Tianjin, Xiamen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong which left Monday and returns next Thursday July 28.

"A lot was achieved in the short time we spent in Sakai," said Ms Wade-Brown. "We firmed up our Sister City relationship, which began in 1994, and this will help promote business opportunities for Wellington in Sakai.

"Most impressive was the Sakai City commitment to being a ?Cool City' in a drive for a low-carbon metropolis. We visited the Sakai waterfront's Mega Solar Power Plant - an important initiative in Sakai's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"The Sakai Chamber of Commerce and Industry are fully supportive of the Cool City Sakai initiative to retool their industries to be less energy intensive.

"Sakai's Chamber expressed their willingness to work with Wellington's Chamber of Commerce more closely to encourage further trade and investment between our cities," she said.

Beginning with meeting the Mayor of Sakai, Mr Osami Takeyama, the Mayoral Delegation also met with the Sakai City Council, the Bureau of Culture and Tourism, Environment, Industrial Promotion, and Board of Education, and the Sakai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Delegation also visited the Sakai Mega Solar Power Plant, the Sakai Wellington Association and the Sakai Women's Centre.

"We had the pleasure of handing over a donation from the people of Wellington for the tsunami relief efforts. With the proceeds of the Sushi Day June 30, Wellington City donated 503,000 yen, boosted with a further donation of 228,000 yen from the Wellington Sakai Association.

"And a personal highlight for me was addressing an audience of over 400 at the Sakai Women's Centre on the topic of Women and Politics. We also firmed up our plans to bring the Japan Festival back to Wellington in 2012 with the donation of cherry trees for Wellington City."

Today the Delegation is in Beijing and then travels to Tianjin on Friday 22 July.